Third Edition

Moderator: Logos Invictus

 
User avatar
Friv
Essence 6
Essence 6
Topic Author
Posts: 1072
Joined: 28 Jan 2006, 00:42
Title: Splinter of Mokrelus
Exalt: Elemental
Fighting Style: Spell-Fu
Artifact: The Crucible of Tarim
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Sixteen: The Enemy Of My Enemy..

22 Mar 2008, 01:33

Another update! Let's see if I can't get them out a bit faster than this...
-----

“So, that is the offer that has been placed before us.” Mnemon’s gaze swept the room, a slight frown on her features. “The question is whether or not we accept it.”

Watching the Empress, Cathak Tyr reflected that the past three months had provided more than just disasters. If someone had told him that Mnemon might actually ask the advice of potential rivals, rather than merely seeking ways to manipulate their opinions, he would never have believed them – but that was before. Although even he, at times, could see what it cost her, the new Empress was doing everything in her power to keep the Realm functioning, even if it meant letting the House Leaders join in making decisions that she might have preferred to forge herself.

If it were not for the constant mediating influence of Lady V’Neef and Lord Sesus Nagazzer, it might not have been enough. Although he was the youngest member of the Imperial Council that Mnemon had formed, Tyr was finding that his eye for politics had been sharpened by his time in Greyfalls, and that even in times of crisis, politics formed.

The House Leaders themselves were all members, and they, of course, had their own goals. First, there was Mnemon Rasula, who had replaced the Empress as the head of her household. Only a few decades older than Tyr, she was a skilled organizer, but was clearly overwhelmed in the strategy meetings, preferring to sit quietly and generally supporting the Empress’s views. Lady V’Neef also seemed perfectly content to serve as support for Mnemon, quietly stepping in when the Empress’s temper began to flare, but otherwise serving as a buffer between her and the other members of the council. Likewise, although Sesus Nagazzer had his own goals, he often was forced to be the peacemaker between others that he was not necessarily fond of. By contrast, Tepet Arada remained blunt-spoken and undiplomatic, especially with regards to his areas of expertise – expertise that Tyr himself was happy to borrow from, and he found that he was often of a mind with the older general.

Now, Arada was frowning thoughtfully as he looked over the elaborate map of Creation laid out on the table around which the council sat. “I don’t know that we have a choice.” He gestured to the southern coast. “As it stands, we’ve essentially lost the Twenty-Second legion, and we don’t have reinforcements nearby. If we don’t order a full withdrawl, we’ll lose the remnants. They aren’t going to be able to so much as slow Saloy Hin down.” He made a few quick motions, and the map rippled as its surface shifted. “But if we could use Chiaroscuro as a staging point, we could safely evacuate our troops, and have a point to launch an invasion of the Southeast.” He looked up and around the table. “The question is whether we can trust the Perfect of Paragon at his word.”

“He is a demon.” Peleps Febaris spoke haughtily. The elder stateswoman had formed an alliance with Ragara Heral, newly-appointed leader of House Ragara, based mainly around trying to mitigate the drastic changes taking place within the Realm. While neither wanted to see the nation fall, both were increasingly leery of the pathways that were being tread, and they were the most common opposition to Mnemon. “With respect, aren’t they exactly what we’ve spent the last three months at war with? An alliance now – and with not one, but three of the Conduits – seems a dangerous path to take.” He glanced over to the usual third member of his alliance’s triumverate, clearly expecting words of support. He was disappointed.

“I think I agree with Lord Arada.” Ledaal Caros was studying the map intently. “Paragon does not stand to gain with betraying us; with the enemies we’ve been focusing on, we’ve barely touched Chiaroscuro, Halta, or Paragon. On the other hand, they would provide desperately-needed bulwarks against our enemies.” He took a deep breath, looking sour. “We have a choice. Ally with the demons, or lose the South. There’s no way to hold it anymore – we have no major cities left since Saloy conquered Harbourhead. He controls the southeastern coast, An-Teng dominates the southwest, and Chiaroscuro controls the central seas. Without one of those three regions on our side, we’ll have to abandon the South entirely.” His gaze swept the room. “Are we willing to do that?”

Cynis Olara, the hastily-appointed head of her House, shook her head, looking around the room. Although she had little military experience, Olara had quickly proven that she had a grasp of politics that went beyond the Dynasty. “If we do, it’ll be crippling. If we admit that an entire Direction is beyond our control, the morale effects…” She trailed off ominously, and everyone around the table nodded slowly. “It’ll be bad to have this alliance, but probably a lot worse not to.” She glanced over in turn to the four members of the council who had yet to speak. Nellens Umir, the only mortal on the council, simply nodded, as did Ragara Heral and Mnemon Rasula. Gradually, everyone glanced to the final member of the council, and Mnemon spoke to him.

“So it comes down to a simple question, for we aren’t just dealing with a king. Can we trust She Who Lives In Her Name?”

There was a long, thoughtful pause, and then Cathak Damian, acting as the emissary of Heaven, spoke. “We can trust Her to be true to Her nature. She doesn’t like most of her brethern, and she is the least hostile of the Yozi towards Creation. If she claims to be willing to accept a compromise, for the time being, I think we can trust her to follow it – and I think we can trust her to dissolve such an alliance formally, rather than by betrayal. Whether it will last?” He frowned. “I don’t know. Pain is second-nature to the Yozi, and their hatred of us runs deep. I think that we can expect the alliance to last at least until we gain the upper hand.”

Mnemon nodded slowly. “Very well, then. We will accept the alliance, but make plans in case it dissolves suddenly.” She looked over the map. “Where can we divert troops from towards the South?”

Tyr winced, following her gaze. “The East is about our only choice, but it leaves Greyfalls vunerable. As it is, we’re only holding the North by a hair; if we divert any more troops out of Cherak, the Haslanti will have it for sure. The West is quieter, but we’ve already taken away most of our forces there, and the ones that are left have their hands full keeping Wavecrest free from Gatanaris and diveriting Cytherea’s fleets north towards Coral.” He sighed heavily. “The Confederation won’t be happy about this, but we can probably leave Port Calin more lightly defended and shift troops from there. With support from Chiaroscuro, we might have a chance of taking back Harbourhead, and that would be worth it.”

Mnemon nodded again, and the table shifted from thoughts of the alliance’s moral implications to those of its military effects. Tyr imagined that he felt much the same as the rest of them; this was a course of action more dangerous even than joining forces with Anathema, but one equally necessary for the defense of Creation.

He only wondered if the Creation that survived this war would be one that he would recognize.
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".
 
User avatar
Icarus
Essence 4
Essence 4
Posts: 304
Joined: 26 Aug 2005, 15:58
Title: Azure Dragon
Exalt: Dragon-Blooded
Location: Sacramento, California
Contact:

Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Sixteen: The Enemy Of My Enemy..

22 Mar 2008, 13:50

Glad to see more, Friv! I'm looking forward to the next installment.
"But, oh! Those days! How I would love to have lived them, even if it were only to be slain on the first!"
 
User avatar
BrilliantRain
Essence 8
Essence 8
Posts: 5362
Joined: 17 Aug 2005, 14:50
Title: The City of Mod
Exalt: Alchemical
Fighting Style: Primordial-Machine Weaving
Artifact: Eye of Autochthon
Location: Nurad
Contact:

Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Sixteen: The Enemy Of My Enemy..

22 Mar 2008, 14:33

One wonders if he recognizes it presently. After all, most of the leadership of the Realm has either been working hand in glove with Anathema or been Anathema for several years now.

One also wonders what Mnemon is doing with her Abyssal Command: 10 background. Or was that factored into the tactical setup already?

Btw, Peleps Febaris appears to change gender halfway through the paragraph. You might want to make it a bit clearer that it is Ragara Heral talking in the second part.

Friv wrote:
"I think that we can expect the alliance to last at least until we gain the upper hand.”


I'm having a little trouble parsing the meaning of that sentence. Wouldn't the Yozies dissolve the alliance only once they had the upper hand? Or are you meaning that, if the Realm got the upper hand, they would see it as dangerous, and start fighting it?
Avatar by Girl Genius

Mod Text is in Green

Do you have enough Tools, King of All Craftsmen?
 
User avatar
Friv
Essence 6
Essence 6
Topic Author
Posts: 1072
Joined: 28 Jan 2006, 00:42
Title: Splinter of Mokrelus
Exalt: Elemental
Fighting Style: Spell-Fu
Artifact: The Crucible of Tarim
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Sixteen: The Enemy Of My Enemy..

23 Mar 2008, 10:57

BrilliantRain wrote:
One wonders if he recognizes it presently. After all, most of the leadership of the Realm has either been working hand in glove with Anathema or been Anathema for several years now.


Well, yeah, there is that. But Tyr's been working through that particular cognitive dissonance. Working with people who actually are effectively demons in human skin is a few steps further. ;)

One also wonders what Mnemon is doing with her Abyssal Command: 10 background. Or was that factored into the tactical setup already?


This will come up in the next update. :twisted:

Btw, Peleps Febaris appears to change gender halfway through the paragraph. You might want to make it a bit clearer that it is Ragara Heral talking in the second part.

Friv wrote:
"I think that we can expect the alliance to last at least until we gain the upper hand.”


I'm having a little trouble parsing the meaning of that sentence. Wouldn't the Yozies dissolve the alliance only once they had the upper hand? Or are you meaning that, if the Realm got the upper hand, they would see it as dangerous, and start fighting it?


Oh, my need for an editor.

The line is meant to reflect that the alliance between the Realm and Paragon can be trusted until the Realm and Paragon have done enough asskicking that Paragon thinks they can go it alone.
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".
 
User avatar
Deaths Pale Mistress
Essence 7
Essence 7
Posts: 4757
Joined: 01 Apr 2006, 02:18
Title: Deathlord-Empress of the Underworld
Exalt: Ghost
Fighting Style: Close-quarters combat
Artifact: The Kiss of Midnight
Location: Unholy Stygia

Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Sixteen: The Enemy Of My Enemy..

24 Mar 2008, 02:52

Since it wasnt mentioned in the story yet, but among us - presume to think that Mnemons vast Abyssal Command is kept secret?
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests