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Age of Blood And Bone, Part Fifty-Two: The Reveal

19 Feb 2009, 02:19

This should answer some questions. :twisted:

-----

The object sitting on the desk defied description, and he smiled as he looked it over. Shimmering and multifaceted, composed of millions of threads and tiny objects that curled around one another, it twisted and warped in the moonlight of the office, occasionally lifting from the white jade desk on which it sat as though impatient. Each time that it did, it was gently forced back down. “Not quite yet, my dear. A few more moments.” A glowing hand reached into the mass, holding something that roughly resembled a cross between a pair of pliers and a drill. It caught a single thread, gently and carefully, and ever so slowly twisted it three times around itself, and bound it to a triangle just as it attempted to become a square. There was a moment of confusion, and then the line went limp and the triangle became a trapezoid. “Beautiful.” The tool was put down beside the object, and the glowing hand reached up to wipe a forehead. “Alright, off with you. The Northeast is in serious trouble.” A moment’s pause, as he tilted his head thoughtfully. “There is that. Halta needs you more, though, and she’s very nice.”

A twist, and a blink, and it was gone. He smiled paternally. “Not my best work, but you’ll do quite well.” He picked up the tool, twirling it in his hands a moment, and then sighed. “Nash, I’m very busy. What do you want?”

The Sidereal stepped out of the shadows of the office. “You’re not surprised to see me, Master Lytek.”

“Of course not.” Finally turning from his desk, the God of Exaltation raised a shining eyebrow, smoothing his robes absently. Above him, the office brightened, its moonlight brightening almost to day without picking up the harshness of sunlight. “This is the office of Exaltation, my boy. Even you can’t sneak in. What do you want?”

Instead of answering, Nash took a step forwards, looking at the desk. “Do they talk to you?”

“Not as such, but I find that vocalizing helps persuade them. It’s very complicated, and you’re dodging my question. You want something.” Lytek stood cheerfully, walking over to one side of the room and pulling out a mahogany chair whose cushions pre-emptively shaped themselves to Nash’s body. “You’ve never been one for chit-chat, Nash, so you’re steeling yourself to ask questions you don’t know if you want answered. Have a seat and talk about it.”

“Thank you, Master Lytek.” Nash sat down slowly. He looked down at his hands. “I don’t need answers, I think. Just confirmation.”

“About?” Lytek asked warmly, crossing to his desk and sitting behind it. “I assume it has to do with your recent travels. You’ve been spotted all over.”

“Yes. I’ve been tracking some things, following a problem I had.” Nash didn’t look up. “It’s about the Solar Circle that left to free Autochthon.”

“Ah, yes. Good people, all of them.” Lytek said.

“Yes. Except… there were odd coincidences about them from the beginning. Cathak Lodaris was converted by Kieran, had a religious vision, and found Alina. Fokuf was trained by my companion Damien, who worked with Serafin’s daughter. Tenrek trained under my old lover, and then met up with Fokuf. Coincidence abounded.”

“The Exaltations seek each other out, Nash. You know that. They pull faintly on the Loom to have their way.” Lytek shrugged. “There’s nothing odd about that.”

“No, not until I discovered that you specifically spoke to Damian. And that the vision that Lodaris had can be traced back to a god who owed you a favour – a favour that he no longer feels he owes.” Nash’s voice was quiet. “Serafin was sent to a position where she could become a Conduit, and groomed for the position. Tenrek was placed where he would learn from the best.”

“You’re ascribing quite a lot to me.” Lytek smiled. “Not that I mind taking the credit, in this case, since it all seems fairly benign. I assume that there’s a problem?”

Nash nodded. “The problem was Serafin. She was being groomed centuries before the Yozi even knew that the Competition was possible. Gaia was preparing back then, laying the groundwork for this war. And that’s where the problems started piling up.” He looked up, meeting Lytek’s eyes. “Because Serafin told us that Autochthon forged the conduit process. The Paragon confirmed it, and said that Sacheverell divined its meaning. And when we thought the process was unidirectional – Yozi using their Conduits – that made sense. But it isn’t. It’s a sharing, a blending of ideas and perspectives that takes the best of both participants. That’s not what Autochthon does. It is, however, exactly what Gaia does.”

Lytek’s smile remained. “That’s quite the leap.”

“It goes past that. Because once I mistrusted one thing, I started looking further. And do you know something odd? Not one member of the Circle that entered Autochthon retained memories of the incarnations that had sided with him. The memories that would have been most useful for that mission were gone. Someone was desperate to keep them from learning something.”

“Or from becoming someone.” Lytek sat back, no longer smiling. “The First Age was a devastating time, and none of those four needed object lessons in not becoming monsters. They all had first-hand experience. So if you’re saying I removed those memories – yes. I did. There’s nothing ominous about it at all.”

“Maybe not. Unless, of course, Autochthon had a weapon.” Lytek’s gaze sharpened, and Nash continued grimly. “I couldn’t find much, but there were a few hints. Rumours, barely whispered even at the time. That after the war, Autochthon was afraid of the Exalted. That he was going to crack the Exaltations apart, using the capabilities of his followers and minions. And that he fled when the Mountain Folk were ravaged, because he wanted to avoid their fate for betraying the Solar Deliberative.”

“The Solars invented a great many theories.” Lytek waved a hand airily. “The Exaltations are inviolable. That’s the whole point.”

“Yes. Except, of course, that they aren’t. And you know that.”

The room went still. Lytek placed his hands on the desk. “Are you accusing me of lying, boy?”

“I am. The Lunar Exaltations became cracked in the Wyld. The Deathlords corrupted Solar Exaltations to create their Deathknights. The damned Yozi poured fragments of themselves into their Conduits’ actual Exaltations and reforged them! You knew that if you told the truth, the Exalted would start looking for ways to destroy each other, and you didn’t want that, so you hid the truth, and you started working with Gaia.”

“Why would I do that?”

Nash shrugged. “Because she told you she could get Autochthon back. If the Exaltations were cracked, they could be repaired – or destroyed.” He watched the great god carefully. “That’s what you’ve been doing for centuries. Millenia, maybe. It’s all been preparation for Autochthon’s return. She allowed the Yozi to be released, because that was the only way to advance things to the point that the Solars could be as well. The only way to assemble the Circle you needed to get Autochthon back.”

“Nash, you were always prone to seeing conspiracies in every shadow.” Lytek said joking. “Now you’re accusing Gaia of deliberately engineering the Competition, as a sideline to other goals?”

Nash did not waver. “Yes.”

“I see.” Lytek stood from his chair, his tools in one hand. The light from the room swelled around him, pulling everything else into shadow. Starlight fell from his fingers, hissing out of existence against the floor. “Well, then. You’re right.” His smile fell away, and his eyes glittered with menace. Power gathered around him in a terrible aura, and his face was grim. “What are you going to do about it?”
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Re: Age of Blood And Bone, Part Fifty-Two: The Reveal

19 Feb 2009, 02:30

Nash: "Ummm....Nothing?"


Huh. So, the real goal has been to get Autochthon back? Not the Competition?

That's a switch. I could understand if that was Lytek's goal, as Autochthon is about the only being that knows more about exaltations than him, but it doesn't seem like it would be Gaia's goal.

On the other had, if Autochthon has weapons that can destroy the Soul of an Exalt, then Gaia could wipe out every conduit and win that way and possibly kill the Yozi in the process. Autochthon would probably be too weak to oppose her if she wanted to kill him too.

On the other other hand, this could also just be a big scheme to get the Primordials to understand human values.

On the other other other hand (I'm an Alchemical, I get four hands), I've probably missed something yet again. I must say Friv, you do surprising yet inevitable very well.
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Re: Age of Blood And Bone, Part Fifty-Two: The Reveal

19 Feb 2009, 02:53

Nice one. Want MOAR!
 
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Re: Age of Blood And Bone, Part Fifty-Two: The Reveal

19 Feb 2009, 08:54

This seems like a type of "...And have you told anyone else about this?" scrape. Systematically revealing the plot typically has dangerous consequences for the one who deduced it.
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Re: Age of Blood And Bone, Part Fifty-Two: The Reveal

19 Feb 2009, 13:31

This is my Oh shit! face: :shock: after reading that last chapter.

Nash is fucking good at what he does for his own good and now Lytek is making it seem like there going to be involved in a knuckle-dragging Brawl. While decidedly awesome - this is gonna get ugly for someone very fast.
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.
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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.

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