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Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Three: The Third Path

06 Dec 2008, 02:03

Well, this time it was Vanished that distracted me, but since I don't want to outpace the project's slower writers, I'm back to working on finishing Blood and Bone. ;)

-----

“Two days.” The Second's voice was barely past a whisper, and the tiny whisp of light that she cradled in one hand bobbed twice in understanding before flitting away down the corridor. Watching it go suspiciously, Kieran frowned.

“What's that thing?”

“A messenger of the Underworld. I have sent it to the Monarchs, so that they may know when we will reach Autochthon.” The Second turned to look at Kieran, her mask expressionless as always. “You did say that you could finish the repair procedures in a matter of hours.”

“It'll be a few hours to get the Seal open, or never.” Kieran smiled wryly. “This is, of course, assuming he can continue the process himself after he wakes up. We don't know he'll wake right away...”

“He will.” Draniel's voice broked no argument, and the group fell silent. For several moments, they walked in single file down the tunnel, before Tenrek finally broke the hush.

“I preferred it when we were travelling with Aegis.” He muttered the statement under his breath.

Draniel glanced back at the Zenith, raising an eyebrow as he walked. “You would prefer that we had left the people of Hath to die?”

“No, that's not what I meant.” Tenrek frowned at his Infernal companion.

“Then you would have preferred that I saved them in the name of Adorjan.”

“Definitely not.” Tenrek glowered at Draniel, then sighed. “I should have stayed to help. What if they don't listen to her?”

“Then they would not listen to you.” Shrugging, Draniel looked back ahead, tracing his path. Tenrek gritted his teeth.

“Everything's just so cut-and-dry with you, isn't it? Can't I miss a friend without it being a deep hidden agenda? Can't I just be worried about her well-being?”

“Clearly, you can.” Draniel did not look back. “Can you do it silently?”

Tenrek's teeth ground. “You're pretty calm for someone who's betraying his mistress with every step he takes.”

Draniel stopped walking.

Tenrek stopped as well. “Hit a nerve?”

The others paused, looking at each other nervously. Fokuf spoke up cautiously. “I think we should all just...”

“I think that you should not speak of things that you do not understand.” Draniel's furious eyes bored into Tenrek's, but the turtleman stood his ground without blinking. “Every breath that I take, every motion, is in accordance with my Grandmother's goals.”

“And she knows that you've changed the plan, does she?” Draniel hesitated, and Tenrek smiled. “No, she doesn't. Because the Seal is still in place, and she can't communicate through the Underworld. So what makes you so certain that she's going to go along with your little treason?”

“I warned you once, Solar. I will not warn you again.”

“Then attack me, and finish betraying her. Betray the oath you swore, and we'll see who walks away from that fight.” Tenrek's smile fell away, and his hands clenched into fists. “You think that Adorjan cares about the greater good of Creation? I've seen the damage that your Yozi patrons are causing precisely because they don't. As soon as that gate opens, she'll forsake you.”

For a moment, Draniel's hands fell to his razor claws, and the Solars tensed. Then, deliberately, he moved them away, turned, and began to stride down the tunnel. “You speak so easily of betrayal, Solar. It is a thing of Creation, not of the Yozi, the legacy of the Maker that we travel through right now. Betrayal is Autochthon's nature, and the nature of his weapons.”

“And aren't you one of those weapons?” Tenrek's voice was soft.

“Not anymore. I am the will of my Grandmother, and I understand her path. I am absolved of the sins of my incarnation.”

“Absolution is a dangerous path.” Tenrek and Draniel turned in surprise as the Second slipped soundlessly past them, taking the lead down the tunnel. “It leads you to imagine your sins forgotten, and you fall into them anew. But it was always the way of your Yozi. Absolution or death, those are the only options that they can see.”

“And you see a third path?” Distracted from his original debate, Draniel followed the Second curiously. Her reply was quiet.

“Forgiveness.”

“That's basically the same thing.” Bringing up the rear, Kieran frowned at the ghost. “You forgive someone, and that's it.”

“Not at all. To forgive, you must accept that a sin occurred, and that there was no excuse for it. Having done so, you accept the sinner as they are. You understand that they will try to avoid sinning again, but the original sin remains in your companion. It is a part of them.”

Kieran paused, his words lost, and suddenly found a smile. “Like the Monarchs forgave you.”

“As you forgave Cathak Lodaris for hunting you.” The Second glanced back to the others. “As Fokuf forgave Mnemon, to make her Empress. As Alina forgave Nganto for her allegiance to the Lintha. As Tenrek forgave the Dragon-Blooded for the death of Danei.” The others glanced at each other as she spoke. “As you have never forgiven, Draniel.”

“Forgiveness is weakness.” Draniel's mouth twisted in memory.

“Forgiveness forges allies from enemies. It creates friendships from hatreds. Forgiveness is the strength of Creation that the Yozi consistantly refuse to see.” The Second's voice was warm. “Forgiveness is acceptance.”

“I thought that love was acceptance.” Fokuf smiled.

The Second returned his gaze with laughter in her eyes. “What makes you think there is a difference between those two statements?” She turned her attention back to the tunnel. “Come. We have far to travel.”

Silent and thoughtful, six souls walked after her.
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Three: The Third Path

06 Dec 2008, 02:34

..........huh.

I always knew she was smart, I just never knew she was that insightful.

And yeah, I can see that, to the Yozies, Autochthon was the weird asthmatic kid who liked playing with icky bacteria and viruses. After being picked on for years, he finally lost it and brought a bioweapon to school.

However, from the human perspective, the Primordials were sentient natural disasters who liked distorting and breaking stuff just because they could, like Sid from Toy Story. To us, Autochthon was a noble (Nobel?) hero who gave us the power to stop these beings from treating us like dirt.

It is a weird dichotomy. On the one hand, the Primordials and Yozies are too fundamentally alien to really be able to care about us as individuals any more than we can care for a single ant. Yet, they could still have tried to avoid stepping on the ant pile too many times back before the war.
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Three: The Third Path

06 Dec 2008, 10:17

BrilliantRain wrote:
..........huh.

I always knew she was smart, I just never knew she was that insightful.

And yeah, I can see that, to the Yozies, Autochthon was the weird asthmatic kid who liked playing with icky bacteria and viruses. After being picked on for years, he finally lost it and brought a bioweapon to school.

However, from the human perspective, the Primordials were sentient natural disasters who liked distorting and breaking stuff just because they could, like Sid from Toy Story. To us, Autochthon was a noble (Nobel?) hero


That lines up well, just replace "bioweapon" with "living dynamite". ^VVVV^
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Three: The Third Path

06 Dec 2008, 11:54

Aww, did death made Jasmine go soft? :)
Also, I think the flaw in her reasonment is the matter of "why forgive?"
Draniel doesn't have any reason that I see to forgive the gods than the Yozis do. Well any reason that I can see, anyway. It's not like the gods apologized or anything. :greensun:
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Three: The Third Path

06 Dec 2008, 12:06

Tornado Wolf, I think this is a job for your sig file.
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Re: Age Of Blood And Bone, Part Forty-Three: The Third Path

06 Dec 2008, 23:34

BrilliantRain - The Second is an interesting character to write for, because she never banters. Everything that she says has a purpose. Sometimes this leads to her staying silent for long periods of time. Other times... well, once in a while she gets to wax poetic. In this case, she has the extra advantage of funneling quite a lot of the power of the White Queen of the Underworld, which is the power to call up Oblivion or calm its raging (and, to the best of my knowledge, is the only power in Creation or the Underworld that can canonically quell the focused rage of the Neverborn for even a moment). This gives her extra insight.

As to why she chose this moment to talk about it, well... as always, she has her reasons.

Anteros - It's not about forgiving the gods in particular. It's more that forgiving people in general isn't something the Yozi can do, and because of that, it's not something that Draniel has ever done.

And then there's the back end of it. If everything is good or bad, and forgiveness is impossible, can you ever admit that you've done something wrong? Doing so would be saying that you deserve to die, because the person you wronged should not forgive you. With this philosophy, the Yozi can't accept any culpability in what happened. It has to be either all the gods' fault, or all theirs. There is no middle ground.
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