Urgh, I'm bad at updating twice a week like I want to. Bad Friv.
Sunlight filtered into the room, passing over the forms of the four great people gathered within. Standing at the head of the table, Harakken Cyrus looked over his compatriots one at a time, thoughtfully. As he glanced over Iselsi Thelos, he couldn't quite keep a frown from his face. His old friend still couldn't truly explain what had happened to Adorjan, and the storm that had shaken the Demon City to its foundations was clearly fresh on the minds of the others present, who kept darting sidelong glances at the old monk as if to assure themselves that he wasn't about to do something else unprecedented. Adorjan herself was as silent as ever with her tears spent, and Cyrus wondered if she could still be relied upon. Consideration reassured him, as Thelos met his glance and inclined his head slightly. He understood the stakes involved.
His gaze shifted to the others. Sillia Sword-Dancer had not deigned to sit in the simple chairs that Cyrus had provided â€“ her tastes ran much more towards the grandiose, something she shared with her patron. Wesmaken, the Father of Multitudes, spoke through her frequently and with great disdain; he had long considered Malfeas to be an upstart, and only his natural wariness of Sacheverell's power had kept him from attempting to seize control of this alliance. Still, while they were arrogant, they understood the value of Creation and the need for sacrifice. She was pliable.
Parakk the Bold, by contrast, was happy for a seat. Cytheria's champion had devastated the fleets of Skullstone and Coral, but the cost had been high, and he was showing signs of exhaustion. Cyrus reflected that the boy had no concept of how to pace himself â€“ not a great surprise, he supposed, but something that would have to be watched. A similar issue was the way that Parakk and Sillia carefully avoided each others' eyes â€“ Wesmaken and Cytheria's hatred of one another had not dimmed, and their Conduits were being extremely careful not to incite their patrons to violence. They could be managed. But if there was to be trouble, it would come from Parakk.
â€œWhen do we leave?â€ Sillia spoke up abruptly, looking at the others. â€œEveryone is here. We're ready to attack. Why not do it quickly, before the others realize we've gone? If Gaia's alliance discovers that we've left our flanks undefended...â€
â€œIt has been taken care of.â€ Cyrus smiled paternally, letting a whisper of Essence calm her nerves. â€œWe are merely waiting for our final allies.â€ He chuckled. â€œWe are attacking the Jade Pleasure Dome, Sillia. Even if the gods cannot attack us directly, it will take all of our power to shatter the defenses that have been laid around it.â€
â€œThen where are they?â€ Parakk grimaced. â€œYou've been damned evasive about these so-calld allies of yours. Who are they? Deathlords? They had better not be Deathlords.â€
â€œNo. Sacheverell would never work with such debased creatures.â€ Cyrus hesitated a moment. â€œHopefully, they will arrive soon. As you say, we do not have much time before...â€
As if on cue, the doorway blew open in a gust of wind. Everyone turned, eyes widened in shock, as four newcomers marched into the room. Parakk's voice caught as he went for his sword.
Standing at the forefront of the quartet, Serafin's gaze swept the room. To her right, the Perfect of Paragon held his staff close, eyes narrowed as he watched the assembly. On Serafin's left, Wind Dancer stood lightly, a spear held in one hand and ready to throw. In the rear of the four, Tide Star lurked, his grey robes cascading over the feet of his companions.
Serafin's jaw clenched as she settled on Cyrus. â€œHarakkin Cyrus.â€
Cyrus bowed. â€œSerafin Ordered-Chaos. We meet at last.â€
â€œYou killed my daughter, you bastard.â€
There was a brief hesitation, and then Cyrus nodded. â€œI did. I killed a great many people that I was very fond of, in fact, in order to reach this point.â€ His eyes met Serafin's. â€œAre you going to try and take revenge against me?â€
Serafin took a deep breath. Her eyes closed for a moment. â€œRevenge wouldn't bring her back.â€
Cyrus's voice grew softer. â€œI'm sorry, Serafin. But we have all made terrible sacrifices to reach this point. You must know that I do not make them lightly.â€
â€œI know.â€ Serafin swallowed heavily, and she bowed her head. â€œI have come with Gaia's response, as promised. The four of us have agreed. Creation is in terrible danger from the Neverborn, and from the Yozi who cannot see through to the light. Even if we win this war, corruption would only tear the world apart again.â€ She looked up. â€œSo even though you betrayed us once, and sent your minion to destroy our brother, we are carrying through with our part of the agreement. Gaia, She Who Lives In Her Name, Zuratha and Cecelyne have come to join your cause.â€
There was dead silence in the room. Parakk broke it with blinding speed. â€œWHAT?â€ He roared. â€œSacheverell, how can you even consider working with the Traitors?!â€
Cyrus gave him a withering look. â€œBecause all of this, we owe to her.â€ He smirked. â€œDid you really think I had deciphered the Sutras alone? Gaia has been helping me for centuries.â€ His voice dropped dangerously. â€œAnd if she can set aside her personal animosities until Creation is safe, you damned well can too. Did you think this was going to be easy? We must all make sacrifices, Cytheria. Or will you stand there and say that after the pain the rest of us have suffered, you are too proud to do the same?â€
â€œI...â€ Parakk sagged back into his chair. â€œI suppose...â€ He mumbled. â€œI will work with her.â€
â€œGood.â€ Cyrus returned his attention to Serafin. â€œI am sorry about Autochthon. But my belief was that he was too damaged to be of use, and that he could be prevented from becoming a Neverborn only if he died away from Creation. I was wrong.â€
â€œDon't sugar-coat it, Cyrus. You don't need to protect me.â€ Thelos spoke up suddenly. He raised his head to look at Serafin. â€œIt was my doing. Sacheverell counseled against the mission, but Adorjan would not be swayed, and so he went along with it in the name of unity.â€ He stood slowly. â€œI wasn't aware he was changing sides.â€
â€œNeither is he, yet.â€ Serafin shrugged. â€œI understand. And I'm sorry for the loss of your Paladin.â€
â€œThank you.â€ Thelos stepped away from the table. â€œVery well. If we've established that everyone here hates everyone else, and that we're working together anyway, shall we get going?â€
â€œOf course.â€ Wind Daughter bowed. â€œIf you will gather, Cecelyne will transport us to the gates of the Pleasure Dome. From there, we are on our own.â€
â€œEight Conduits together. What is going to stop us?â€ Sillia smiled crookedly.
As the eight gathered, their positions left Serafin and Cyrus standing next to each other. Serafin smiled, hissing between her teeth. â€œWhen this is over, and Gaia doesn't need me anymore, I may still kill you.â€
Cyrus smiled sadly. â€œWhen this is over, and Sacheverell doesn't need me anymore, I may let you.â€